Cross-Border Retirement Planning (IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA)

Work with Our Cross-Border Retirement Planning Team to Help Manage, Transfer, and Invest Your U.S. Retirement Accounts

Plena Wealth Advisors specialize in managing, transferring and investing cross-border retirement accounts including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs, 401(k)s and Roth IRAs). When it comes to cross-border retirement planning, changing the address on your retirement accounts to a Canadian address prohibits your existing advisor and advisory firm from dealing with you, resulting in your accounts being frozen. Until you move your accounts to an advisor who is cross-border licensed, your investments cannot be actively managed. With the help of your dedicated wealth management team, Plena Wealth Advisors can help navigate these cross-border retirement planning issues with you.

As specialists in cross-border retirement planning, our team of expert dual-licensed financial advisors recognizes the unique nature of dual taxpayers. Whether reviewing your existing portfolio or building a customized portfolio to suit your needs, Plena Wealth Advisors can advise on the complex issues that can arise when you have financial interests on each side of the border. We take care to ensure you have a well-thought-out cross-border financial plan and investing strategy that align with your individual preferences and appetite for risk.

Our team understands the challenges of cross-border retirement planning and ensures your cross-border tax obligations are managed according to your unique situation. Keeping in mind the tax reporting requirements for U.S. citizens, your portfolio is managed accordingly, so that you remain compliant when filing multiple tax returns and do not owe additional taxes inadvertently.

Cross-Border Retirement Planning FAQs

Can I keep my IRA if I move to Canada?

Yes, with the help of our cross-border financial advisors who are dually licensed to work with U.S.- and Canada-based clients, we can help you maintain these accounts, so you won’t have to collapse or liquidate them, actions that risk significant penalties or tax consequences.

Can I keep my Roth IRA if I move to Canada?

Yes, we can transfer in, hold, manage and invest your Roth IRA accounts for you. Most U.S. brokerage firms cannot hold Roth IRAs, 401(k)s or traditional IRAs for people residing in Canada, however, Plena Wealth Advisors can help you maintain these accounts without any inadvertent tax consequences. Additionally, to keep your Roth IRA tax exempt in Canada, you must file a one-time Treaty election in the first taxation year you are in Canada. We recommend consulting a cross-border tax advisor to help you file the Treaty Election form.

Can I keep my U.S. job and move to Canada?

Yes, this is possible. U.S. citizens who have moved to Canada can keep or accept employment from a U.S. company in most cases. There may be requirements for work permits or temporary resident visas depending on your specific situation. However, issues can arise here if you are not careful, typically around how the employment is set up (employees need to be employed by a Canadian firm/subsidiary of U.S. company) and can affect how payroll taxes (Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Social Security, etc.) are remitted to the correct tax authority. You would want to ensure you work with a dedicated cross-border accountant to stay compliant from a tax standpoint.

What happens to my social security if I move to Canada?

As long as valid contributions were made to Social Security and you meet the eligibility requirements, you will be entitled to your social security benefit in Canada. Social Security paid to residents of Canada is not taxable in the U.S., as payments are only taxable in the country of residence. For more information on Social Security, check out our blog post.

Can I roll my IRA into an RRSP?

While transferring or rolling over an IRA to an RRSP is an option, typically this is not the best solution due to inadvertent tax consequences. The transfer of such accounts can result in double taxation (Canadian and U.S. taxes payable). You may instead choose to continue to hold your IRA and have it managed by our team of dual-licensed financial advisors who specialize in cross-border retirement planning.

What is the equivalent of a 401(k) in Canada?

In Canada, the equivalent to a 401(k) plan is a group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (group RRSP), while the equivalent of an IRA is an RRSP. You cannot “roll over” 401(k) and IRA accounts into RRSPs without first collapsing the account and taking potentially high taxes and penalties. Plena Wealth Advisors experienced team can help transfer in, manage and invest your 401(k) and IRAs for you.


  • Cross-border retirement, investment and tax planning.
  • Management of Canadian (RRSP, TFSA, RESP) and U.S. retirement accounts (IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k)).
  • Analysis of retirement benefits including pension plan and government assisted plans (CPP, OAS, U.S. Social Security).
  • Estate planning and risk management strategies.
  • Multi-currency investment accounts in CAD or USD to keep investment strategies separate.

Looking for Cross-Border Retirement Planning Help?

Should you find yourself in a situation that’s overwhelming with the multiple U.S. retirement accounts (IRA, 401(k), Roth IRA, etc.) and would like to simplify and better understand your finances, contact us today and begin the process of simplifying your financial life.